By Chris Kehinde NWANDU
Early this morning, I woke up to see a text message from DStv. I thought it was their usual message informing subscribers of new programmes but alas what I saw almost totally ruined my day.
A sample of the message sent to DStv Premium subscribers’ decoders reads: “Dear Customer, due to rising costs of business operations, please note that from May 1, your monthly subscription (Premium) will be N24,500. To retain your old price of N21,000 for up to 12 months ensure you are active by April 30.”
The new regime will also see the price of the Compact+ bouquet move to N16,600 from N14,250 monthly. Subscribers on the Compact bouquet will, under the new price regime, pay N10,500 as against N9,000, with those on Confam set to pay N6,200 as against N5,300. Those on DStv Yanga and Padi will pay N3,500 and N2,500 respectively as against N2,950 and N2,150.
On the GOtv service, subscribers on the GOtv Supa package will pay N6,400 as against N5,500, with those on GOtv Max paying N4,850 as against N4,150. GOtv Jolli subscribers are due to start paying N3,300 as against N2,800, with the tariffs on GOtv Jinja and GOtv Lite also rising from N1,900 to N2,250 and N900 to N1,100 respectively.
To cushion the effect of the price review, MultiChoice Nigeria, as usual, has made a price lock offer to subscribers, who renew their subscriptions before their due dates. The offer allows customers to pay the old rates for 12 months if they pay monthly before the expiration of their subscriptions. Similarly, it grants subscribers, who pay for one year at a go, before the new prices kick in, the opportunity to pay the old tariffs.
My immediate reaction was to downgrade my DStv bouquets immediately after the current subscription lapses. I have two different DSTV decoders at home and I have been managing my payments monthly because (I am not a lover of dual view).
Who is thinking of paying for an increased subscription in this Buhari/Emefiele era, I asked myself. To me, that was insensitive on the part of DStv. Haba! Kilode?
But on second thought, I asked myself some pertinent questions: what if Nigeria has not experienced a price increase in the past year? A loaf of bread that costs about N500 last year is now between N1000-N1,200, same with staple food like rice, beans, yam, and even our own ‘pure’ water, all have hit the roof.
You may call DStv a luxury product, but I am aware that even Startimes increased its subscription recently too.
The new prices, which took effect on 14 April, will see StarTimes Basic bouquet customers on DTT (antenna) pay N2,100 monthly, as against the previous sum of N1,850, while customers on its Classic bouquet will pay N3,100 monthly as against the previous N2,750 tariff. The price of the Nova bouquet also went up from N900 to N1,200.
The company’s subscribers using DTH (Dish) are similarly affected, with the tariff on the Smart bouquet rising to N2,800 per month from N2,600, while the Super bouquet will now attract a monthly tariff of N5,300 as opposed to N4,900. The Nova bouquet has its tariff raised to N1,200 from N900.
StarTimes explained that the price review had to be made because of suffocating economic conditions, to which it had to respond to ensure it is able to continue providing the level of service to which its subscribers are accustomed.
The GSM companies have in the past months increased their call tariffs and data cost. Abi una no dey notice how data dey finish immediately after you’ve recharged? Petrol cost is on the rise, Diesel is now N1000 per litre. Discos now increase the cost of electricity monthly despite giving us perpetual darkness.
The airlines are finding it difficult to cope. A one-hour trip has jumped from under N50,000 to almost N100,000 ( an increase of almost 100% ) within one year. And we have a government that is not only insensitive but totally disconnected from the people.
Many companies in Nigeria are at the point of total collapse or have folded up entirely. It is suicidal for anyone to run a business in Nigeria these days.
Where are all the other Companies that went into Pay Tv in Nigeria like DStv? They have all folded up. We may blame DStv for its monopoly when it comes to content, but have they stopped other companies from buying the same elsewhere?
A Nigerian company once got the license to broadcast the Premiership at a time. Where is the company today? It folded up within one year. Every company is out to make a profit.
In as much as I will not justify a monthly increase in price as being done in other sectors, let us also look at the hostile environment these companies operate in. If we can have just stable electricity as we have in South Africa, Ghana and other countries, our ease of doing business will be enhanced.
I’ll not blame DStv rather, we should be blaming our government which has practically crippled all businesses due to its lack of vision and terrible economic policies. Let them also create an enabling environment for other companies to come into the sector, who knows, healthy competition as we have it in the telecom sector may also bring down these costs.
Which company will survive in Nigeria generating power for its use 90% of the time? I’ve not spoken about multiple taxation o or even the rising rate of the Naira to the dollar. This has led to several companies closing shops and relocating to other African countries.
While I urge DStv to look at the request for pay-as-you-view as being advocated by Nigerians, I still think this has been taken care of by its flexible bouquets because with as little as N3,000 monthly, you can watch DStv. It has even gone further to create a more pocket-friendly platform called Gotv, which goes for as little as N1,500 monthly subscriptions.
For me, I’ll start cutting my coat according to my cloth, not my size. It shall be well with Nigeria.
***Chris Kehinde Nwandu is a Journalist, Law Graduate and UK Certified Arbitrator